Click photograph for source

In an effort to encourage the married folks, Amber and I have decided to fight the good fight a bit more publicly.  To that end, we started writing letters to each other on Mondays. 

After our first round, Scott and Joy Bennett agreed to join in.  Scott suggested that this week’s letters address our “secret fantasies… about the future” and  I immediately jumped on the idea, thinking that an exercise in projection might reveal a thing or two.  Amber and I decided to write our letters as if we were thirty-four years into the future (obligatory nod to the Sage).  After you read this letter, check out Amber’s.  Then MAKE SURE to visit Joy and Scott and see what they offered!

 

Dear Amber,

I remember thirty-four like it was yesterday.  I sat at that old wrought iron table outside writing an email to someone.  I can’t quite remember the addressee now because at sixty-eight you learn to forget a thing or two.  In any event, I was watching the boys climb the wood pile when you came out and told me that you were heading to Wal-Mart for some eggs or something.  It was a relatively mild day—for January that is—and you were wearing my fleece jacket.  I asked you whether you really intended to wear my fleece jacket, and you told me not to worry.  “I’m not going to roll around in spaghetti sauce,” you said.  Then you offered a wry smile and climbed into the car.

You’ve always known how to put me in my place.  I’ve always loved it.

When we were in our thirties, I dreamed about being in our sixties.  I fantasized of a quiet house, relative peace and quiet.  I figured an empty nest would mean waking to a late alarm clock, listening to Miles Davis records, cooking egg-beater omelets, and back porch bird watching.  I figured we would have grown up, slowed down.  But the truth is, you like Nirvana more today than you did as a teenager—you’ve now grown to admit that you’ve always had a crush on Kurt Cobain.  I haven’t outgrown a good waffle with powdered sugar and Canadian maple syrup, either.  We still prefer listening to the college kids play bluegrass at the Farmer’s Market to bird watching.  Cardinals and wood ducks are glorious, but not as glorious as a fiddle in the hands of bold young woman.

When I was in my thirties, I thought maturity meant growing up, changing tastes.  Now I think that maturity means remembering how to stay young, how to savor the flavors of youth.  We’ve figured that out, I think.  Sometimes I think that we’re just better versions of who we were back then.

I also reckon that I have less to say these days.  When I was in my thirties, I used to think that I would ooze marital wisdom in my sixties.  Now, the only wisdom I can muster is to say that we’re all broken.  But the beauty is, you and I like each other’s brand of broken.  In our sixties, we don’t feel obligated to fix each other.  That’s what good grace does.  It teaches you to suffer the poor in spirit, to suffer your spouse.  So now, we speak less and pray more.  We’ve found that to be the best advice to give young couples.

I hope that we have another twenty years together, but that’s not likely.  I should probably tell you now that I’ve always liked you.  I should tell you that I wouldn’t trade the difficulty of the early years for the freedom of the later ones.  I should tell you that morning coffee with you has always been the best part of my day.  And I should tell you to wear my fleeces a bit more.  Leave the smell of your perfume on them.  I won’t immediately run them through the wash like I used to.  Instead, I’ll let the scent linger, let it rise like the prayers of a mystic, like the incense of two co-mingled lives well lived.

Here’s to Advil and Patty Griffin,

Seth

***

Now it’s your turn.  Write a letter to your spouse.  You don’t have to publish it online (but if you do drop back in and leave a link).  You might just hand write it and give it to her/him over dinner or before bed.  Marriage is a tough thing.  Fight hard to preserve yours.

34 comments

  1. Beautiful!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Carrie. I hope you jumped over to Scott and Joy’s letters. They’re full of the hard stuff. Good love, those people.

      Reply
  2. love this.

    Reply
  3. Beautiful, affectionate letter.

    “Speaking less and praying more,” and extending more grace… good reminders always in a marriage. Thanks, Seth, and Deeper Story, for this focus and building stronger marriages. It resonates with me. My husband and I pray to have soft hearts and humble spirits to each other, apologizing often. My post last weekend was about that. “Roses and Sit-Ups” http://www.jenniferdougan.com/2012/01/roses-and-sit-ups.html

    Thank you for your honesty and encouragement. Marriage is worth it! :)

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    Reply
    • Marriage is worth it, Jennifer. And great post over at your place.

      Reply
  4. Eloquent words with so much meaning. A great idea!

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    • Thanks, Sarah. I hope others will jump in (maybe you?).

      Reply
  5. My husband Tony and I are 35 and this year we will have been married 18 of those thirty five years. We can most certainly say that we have grown up together. Most days we feel like we have lived an entire lifetime together and I become afraid that it is almost over based on that “lifetime feeling.” Reading your letter to your Covenant Love has reminded me that we are only just beginning. I love the line in your letter “I wouldn’t trade the difficulty of the early years for the freedom of the later ones.” Much pain is felt spending 18 years with someone, but the freedom we know today is priceless. You can read about our broken road if you’d like on my blog. At points it is transparent to say the least, but a marriage in hiding only keeps others in bondage. I adore any couple with a heart for marriage and without knowing you two I adore you both.

    Reply
    • Congrats on 18 years and rolling strong! That’s an accomplishment (especially these days). Keep setting the example for us.

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  6. I can hardly say what I want to say but YES. Exactly.

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    • Lady… we like your encouragement.

      Reply
  7. Seth, thanks for lofting the phrase ‘I’ve always liked you’….we far too often diminish the role of ‘like’ in favor of some otherworldly notion of ‘love’…good job.

    Reply
    • I totally agree with you… really, John.

      Thanks for stopping in here. It’s good for the sages to swing in from time to time.

      Reply
  8. I’m delighted to find another Nirvana loving fleece-stealer. :)

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    • Perhaps y’all are kindred and such…

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  9. What Sarah Bessey said.

    And, I love the photo . . . Whenever Austin or I see an elderly couple walking around holding hands or snuggling, we always say, “That’s gonna be us someday honey.”

    Reply
    • Us too… us too…

      Here’s to hoping and praying.

      Reply
  10. K, I wish I could hang out with you guys. You inspire!

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    • Maybe one lucky day.

      Reply
  11. oye……the tears.

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  12. I love this project, Seth! thanks for the inspiration! I wrote mine & look forward to next weeks!
    Have fun at the farmer’s market watching the fiddlers. Sounds great to me!

    http://adamshome.blogspot.com/2012/01/you-me-at-65ish.html

    Reply
  13. Ann

    “It teaches you to suffer the poor in spirit, to suffer your spouse.” Profound! I love this letters to your spouse(s) and am looking forward to reading the next one! Thank you for sharing your self so boldly.

    Reply
  14. This is so beautiful: the letter itself, the wisdom within it, and your vulnerability in sharing it. Thanks, Seth (and Amber, and Joy and Scott!).

    Reply
  15. “But the beauty is, you and I like each other’s brand of broken. In our sixties, we don’t feel obligated to fix each other.”

    Oh, how this is what I long for- not even in my husband, but in myself. This, you two, is such a blessing to me, as I’ve been feeling such a a passion for my marriage. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with it, but I just feel like their are so many things to be guarded FOR it. Marriage IS serious stuff and am just so thankful for others that believe so.

    Thank you for the encouragement friends. :)

    Reply
  16. I love this excerpt from your article, it’s what I stand for – we find freedom in our broken-ness, we are empowered by our vulnerabilities,…it’s what makes us eligible for grace, and it’s how we reach others… Not by judging and trying to fix them, but by accepting and loving them in their broken-ness. Just as Jesus does.

    “I also reckon that I have less to say these days. When I was in my thirties, I used to think that I would ooze marital wisdom in my sixties. Now, the only wisdom I can muster is to say that we’re all broken. But the beauty is, you and I like each other’s brand of broken. In our sixties, we don’t feel obligated to fix each other. That’s what good grace does. It teaches you to suffer the poor in spirit, to suffer your spouse. So now, we speak less and pray more. We’ve found that to be the best advice to give young couples.”

    Reply
  17. loved your words. thanks for sharing them not only with your wife, but with us. I too like to envision what I “might” be, but realize we’ll still be listening to what we did in our teens.

    I love your last two sentences at the very end, “Marriage is a tough thing. Fight hard to preserve yours.” These are powerful & true…more people need to hear & do this.

    Reply
  18. This is awesome! I was just thinking the other day how I know I’ll still love to rock out to Switchfoot in my car, even if I am 67 years old. And I’m sure that by then, people will think it’s really weird. :) It will be all “classic” or something.

    I feel like I’ve just gotten a glimpse of the “pray more” pearl in the last few months… thanks to reading “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller. He talks about praying for aspects of people’s character and their deep needs. So applicable here.

    Thanks for this lovely piece!

    Reply
  19. Gina

    Oh wooow this is absolutely beautiful and encouraging in the middle of a marriage crisis! Thank you thank you! Have a wonderful weekend and greetings from icy Tallinn (Estonia), it’s going to be -25° degree celcius here this weekend :-)

    Reply
  20. Nats

    This is so beautiful and touched me so much. It reminded me of my grandparents’ love..and also the love my husband and I strive for as we grow in maturity and love. Wonderful, thank you.

    Reply

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